France to create space command within air force: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the residence of French Defense Minister on the eve of Bastille Day in Paris
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the residence of French Defense Minister on the eve of Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 13, 2019. Kamil Zihnioglu/Pool via REUTERS

July 13, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he had approved the creation of a space command within the French air force to improve the country’s defense capabilities.

Addressing military personnel a day before the Bastille Day parade, Macron said the new military doctrine setting up a space command would strengthen protection of French satellites. He said the investment involved had yet to determined.

“To give substance to this doctrine and ensure the development and reinforcement of our space capabilities, a space command will be created next September in the air force,” Macron said, adding that it would later become the Space and Air Force.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly said last year she was committed to giving France strategic space autonomy in the face of growing threats from other powers amid a race in space militarization.

The French military spending program for 2019-2025 has earmarked 3.6 billion euros ($4.06 billion) for investments and renewal of French satellites.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats told Reuters in June.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced a plan last year to create a new “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet, Myriam Rivet and Bate Felix; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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